By Tugrul Cam, Baris Seckin
A U.S. delegation began negotiations with Turkish officials on Manbij, northern Syria on Friday, Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Turkey and the U.S. have established a mechanism to address separate issues in working groups, including stabilization of Manbij and to prevent any undesirable clashes, following the visit of former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to capital Ankara in February.
“The second part of this meeting is being held today. We are hosting the U.S. delegation,” Hami Aksoy told reporters in Ankara during a news conference.
The first meeting of the working group on Syria was held on March 8-9 in Washington.
Manbij will remain the key focus of Friday's meeting, said Aksoy and added its minutes will be released after a meeting between Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo on June 4 in Washington.
U.S. military support for the terrorist group in Manbij has strained ties between Ankara and
This January, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, northern Syria to clear terrorist groups from the area. After liberating the city of Afrin, Ankara said it might also extend its operation further east to
US bill on F-35 program
Aksoy said a bill passed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Thursday, which includes a measure to
“We have fulfilled our responsibilities in the F-35 program. Everyone’s
“We will have to respond to
Last December, Turkey announced it had concluded an agreement with Russia for the purchase of two S-400 systems by early 2020.
Mitchell, the U.S. state department official, had claimed that Turkey could face U.S. sanctions if it went ahead with plans to buy the Russian missile systems and the purchase may "adversely impact Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program".
The first delivery of U.S.-made F-35 warplanes to Turkey is slated for June 21, after Ankara placed an order for two aircraft of the projected fleet of 100 in 2014.
Asylum grant by Greece, against
On Wednesday, the Greek Council of State approved the right of asylum for eight former Turkish soldiers who had fled Turkey after the defeated coup on July 15, 2016.
Emphasizing that the decision is against international law, Aksoy said: "A democratic country should not protect putschists. In the future, we expect the Greek judiciary to not repeat similar mistakes."
The supreme administrative court evaluated Greek government's objection to the right of asylum given by the Greek Asylum Commission to Suleyman Ozkaynakci, one of the former Turkish soldiers.
The decision set a precedent for the other seven ex-soldiers; their right of asylum was also approved.
Irregularity in Iraqi parliamentary polls
On May 12, Iraqis voted in the country's first parliamentary elections since 2014.
The use of electronic voting machines -- for the very first time -- however, led to allegations of voter fraud, especially in the cities of Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk.
"A report by electoral watchdogs also confirms this. The investigation of the allegations by
Israeli violence on Palestinians
On Kuwait's move in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for Gaza, Aksoy said: "In case it is not approved, we, as the term president of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, will raise the topic at the UN General Assembly with the head of Arab group.
On May 18, Kuwait submitted a draft resolution at the UNSC that condemns Israeli violence and calls for "protection of the Palestinian people" in Gaza.
Tension has mounted in the Palestinian territories since last
On May 14, at least 65 Palestinian protesters in the eastern Gaza Strip were martyred -- and thousands more injured -- by Israeli army gunfire.